Craig Mazin, co-creator of The Last of Us HBO show, has revealed that the Season 1 ending could have been a bit different. The director of the finale, Ali Abbasi, had been “playing around with” how the episode ends, but there was a lot of discussion on whether to keep the last scene faithful to the video game series or not. Mazin explains how the team decided on the last shot of the season.
[Warning: Spoilers of the The Last of Us Season 1 finale ahead!]
The Last of Us Season 1 ending could have been “slightly longer”
In an interview with GQ, Mazin shared that Abbasi had a slightly different take on the ending that could have worked just as well:
[Abbasi] had this thought of just playing out this slightly longer, sadder version where Ellie says, ‘okay’, and then she turns and walks away. And Joel looks after her. We see the two of them walking, not really together but apart, down towards Jackson. It lingers and then fades.
Mazin believes that this ending would be been “beautiful” too and caused a lot of “meta-discussion” by the team, which likely involved Neil Druckmann too, particularly on whether video game fans would be annoyed or angry at this potential change.
In the end, the production decided to err on the side of caution and make the close-up of Ellie the final shot. Mazin explains that keeping the shot on Ellie made the ending more suspenseful, not knowing how she feels about Joel’s account of what happened with the Fireflies.